Chris D. reunites Flesh Eaters 

To celebrate the recent CD-and-vinyl reissue of its 1981 debut CD “A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die,” Los Angeles punk supergroup The Flesh Eaters has reformed in its original lineup for five West Coast dates, including a stop in The City this week.

Chances are, a few audience members might know its silver-haired, gravelly-throated bandleader Chris D. by another name: Mr. Desjardins, their film-studies professor from the San Francisco Academy of Art University, where he worked for five years, until 2013 budget cuts ended his run.

Until then, he was flying up on a weekly basis to oversee several popular courses: film noir, history of the horror movie, and new Holllwood, covering films from the mid-1960s through the end of the 1970s.

“I was also teaching a contemporary cinema course, one they had that was not created by me, and I was trying to get a samurai film class started the whole time I was there, but I could never convince them to let me do it,” says the movie buff, who lyrically rooted his “Minute to Pray” dirges – like ”Satan’s Stomp,” “Digging My Grave,” and “See You in the Boneyard” – in vintage splatterfests from Hammer Studios and Italian directors Mario Bava and Dario Argento.

The musician wrote and directed his own full-length feature in 2002, “I Pass For Human,” and his samurai fascination led him to a research stint Japan, after which he penned two definitive volumes, “Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film” and “Gun and Sword: An Encyclopedia of Japanese Gangster Films 1955-1980.”

“It boggles the mind how many gangster films got made in that period, just hundreds and hundreds,” he says. “Initially, there were sword-fighting yakuza ones set in the 1920s, but in the ‘60s, you got a real dose of realism – the gangster lifestyle as a reflection of unfettered capitalism, Japanese nationalism and how many values had been destroyed after World War II by the U.S. occupation.”

Desjardins – who also acts, writes poetry and novels – just launched a film column for Byron Coley’s new magazine Bull Tongue. With his ex-wife Julie Christensen, he’s discussing a reunion of their old combo The Divine Horsemen.

But he used his post-professor down time to reassemble The Flesh Eaters: guitarist Dave Alvin, bassist john Doe, saxophonist Steve Berlin, percussionist D.J. Bonebrake and drummer Bill Bateman, who were typically busy with their own bands (X, The Blasters and Los Lobos).

“I started talking to the guys before summer just to set this up for January,” says D. “Because everybody had something going on. For once, I was the only one with a free schedule!”


The Flesh Eaters

Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., S.F.

When: 9 p.m. Jan. 9

Tickets: $20

Contact: (415) 885-0750,

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Tom Lanham

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